Having spent thirty years writing on the topic that Mr. Benincasa presumes to address, I am appalled by his inability to explain what the term “multiculturalism” means. This is particularly unsettling, given the fact that anyone who questions Benincasa’s understanding of this unexplained concept, including the majority of the student senate that voted against the College’s diversity plan two years ago, are assumed in the editorial to be bigots.
Contrary to what the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Benincasa say about the H.L. Mencken Club, we are not racists but simply conservatives and libertarians. Our group is less on the right than our accusers at the ADL are on the left; and the same epithets this organization has hurled at us, it has used against the Religious Right and Republican groups. In the late 1990s, the ADL published a series of pamphlets counterfactually accusing (fervently pro-Israeli) Evangelicals of anti-Semitism and co-indicting their Jewish Republican defenders. The ADL’s disapproval of the Mencken Club is no indication that the group is racist or that the ADL is capable of making dispassionate judgments.
As for my comments about multiculturalism as applied at the College, there are ways in which this policy has been successful. Accusations against students for inappropriate stares and for what is now classified as the evil of “lookism” have been turned into a topic of discussion in your publication and by college personnel. I noticed that in the issue in which I was attacked, there was another expression of the diversitarian impulse. You had a picture on the front cover of what looked like nondescript Americans parading their “diversity.” I was delighted to learn that adopted children now add to the college’s quotient of student diversity, along with people born in Costa Rica. How, by the way, were my attempts to keep multicultural indoctrination out of the classroom “racist efforts” on my part? In the incriminating remark I was defending the distinction between serious instruction in a real discipline and something like Victimology 102. If students and instructors can’t tell the difference between the two, then they shouldn’t be in a college.
The multiculturalism that has no future on this campus is the active and successful recruitment of inner-city minorities. This is something to which the administration and faculty will continue to pay lip service but which is both expensive and a questionable recruiting device. It is one thing to pretend to want “diversity” and to scold old guys like me for raising questions about this slogan. It is another thing to mistake pretense for reality.